Is it the end?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by John Alvarez, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Screenwriter

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    My 17 year old daughter who lives with my ex called this past Friday night to tell me she is 4 months pregnant. The ex boyfriend is claiming it's not his which DNA will prove when the baby is born. I am absolutly disappointed about the whole thing. Wanting more for your kids etc...Her mom is making her feel as though everything will be Mary Poppins. The same woman who let her get a belly ring at 12, a tattoo at 15, quit school at 16 and now pregnant at 17..........Does anyone have words of wisdom? She and I haven't been close in a couple of years because I am the mean dad who has rules etc....Now this? My now 10 moth old daughter will be an Aunt and me a grandpa at 43.....[​IMG]
     
  2. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    John, let me first say you have my empathy and support. I'm sure you're dealing with a huge tangle of emotions and thoughts right now.

    From what you describe, there isn't much you can do WRT the immediate situation. Think long-term, whatever you do - remember that this grandchild will be around for the rest of your life, and act accordingly WRT support and help.

    On a practical, personal, level, I'd encourage you to cast about for some support. Whether through faith-based or community-based organizations, see if you can connect with other parents whose children have had/are having children. I'd especially encourage you to seek out a divorced dad's group in town (most likely at a church, but might exist outside of one). This will be a lifeline for YOU as you navigate some very tricky emotional and relational waters.

    Are you able to help your daughter find similar resources? She might very well rebuff any of your efforts (at least initially), but you can at the very least take satisfaction from having done the right thing and showing a forward-thinking, productive approach.

    What about offering weekly (or monthly or whatever) babysitting services? It's a great opportunity to grow close to your grandchild, as well as sow seeds for a better relationship with your daughter down the line.

    I think seeking out support of people - and especially men - who have gone through what you are is the best thing you can do. Having objective, experience support will be tremendously helpful.

    Just some ideas.
     
  3. Mark Sherman

    Mark Sherman Supporting Actor

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    Hey you did all you could with all of those "RULES" OH No

    . Nice to see that her mom is given her a proper upringing with Tats belly rings and now this. Great Job there mom, way to go.


    Id say give it up for adoption and let your daughter have a future and a life.
     
  4. danDo

    danDo Agent

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    I can't give advise on your daughter, it is hard when you are the "mean dad" and see what the "cool mom" is doing to your child.

    Irregardless of the situation, you will be a grandfather. Demand and let your daughter know that you expect a lot of quality time with your grandson/granddaughter. Dote on the little bugger and make them a real joy in your life. In time your daughter will come around and she will have you as a good example to follow.

    Also, if you decide to start contributing to an education fund for the baby, it may be better to make your own account that neither the mother or grandmother can touch and make the trustee someone outside of the immediate family.
     
  5. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    I agree with the idea(s) of offering babysitting to your daughter as a way of mending fences and growing closer to your granddaughter (and proving that you aren't the "evil dad" that you think she see's you as)....but support groups? ...for becoming a grandfather? .....well, whatever helps you through I suppose but requiring a support group for this basic a life event (even at 17/43 respectively) seems a bit much....but that's just me.
     
  6. Jacinto

    Jacinto Second Unit

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    John,

    The first thing you should really do is go to your daughter, put your arms around her, and tell her that you love her and that everything will be alright. In my experience, nothing heals relationships better than grace. Do you think she called you to hear how disappointed you are in her life? Or what you think of her boyfriend? She did not even call in hopes of getting your approval. All she wanted was to hear your love and grace, and to be encouraged by the knowledge that you will always be there for her.

    My wife got pregnant during her senior year in high school, and it was directly because of her circumstances (long story -- aren't they always, though?) that we ever ended up meeting eight years later. Thanks to the support of her family, she still went to college and had a career when I met her as a single mom. It is your job to be that support for her. We've been married six years, added three more kids to the mix, and she's now become the first person in her family to get a Masters degree. Your daughter's life is not over, and neither is yours, John.

    Hang in there, it will get better.
     
  7. RichardK

    RichardK Second Unit

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    John-

    Your story hits close to home with me. My parents are divorced and due to the circumstances at the time of the divorce, my Dad had custody of my 15yr old sister and 13yr old brother. I was away at college when I get the call from my Dad that my baby sister was pregnant. My Mom flipped out! Nearly 9yrs later, my sister and mom's relationship is still nonexistent.

    I have always felt the reason was because my mother didnt keep do what Jacinto recommends in his post.

    My words of advice are to remember parental love should be UNCONDITIONAL. Demonstrate that to your daughter and to your grandchild. Everything else will fall in to place. Maybe one day my mother will figure that out...

    Regards
     
  8. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    I don't care whether it's an organized group or Fred across the street. Being able to talk to someone who's experienced what you are helps.

    And this isn't about being a grandfather - or at least, not only about that. It's about being the noncustodial parent to a child, and that relationship has been hurting for a while. That child becoming pregnant introduces new stresses and layers to the relationship.

    So, yeah. Support group for being a grandfather. [​IMG]
     
  9. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

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    Ditto on the trust manouver. Even if you can put a little in an edcuational account at a time. It's the single biggest thing you can do to help your new grandchild get along in life. Doesn't sound like mom's the type to think about the future so you might as well take an initiative.

    The other thing is to offer your daughter support as you can. Perhaps offer to buy diapers or what you can, but the important thing is being helpful and able and nonjudgmental when you can. How your grandchild is raised will depend largely on your daughter. Unplanned babies can either be a wake-up call or a descent into denial and turbulence. Your daughter must wake-up and smell the diapers or the child will end-up being a ward of someone else.

    The most you can do is offer to support your daughter in the positive choices she makes and to warn her away from the bad ones. The days of you calling the shots are over. She's an adult now with adult responsibilities. Treating her as an adult will enforce this thinking in her and perhaps help her realize you were right all along. Maybe it won't happen now or even a while from now. You may have many difficult moments and periods of silence. Couch your words and actions in love. Always tell her how much you love her even if you don't support her choices and tell her why you don't support them when they occur. When she makes choices you do support again, tell her that you love her and why you support her choice. This kind of patterned behavior helps an adult child to be made aware of adult behavior and reinforces the idea that your love isn't tied to her actions but your support is; that witholding support (financial or behavioral) doesn't mean you don't love her. This can be a difficult course to set in yourlife but if you stick to your guns she will come around to your way of thinking when she's ready to accept responsibility for what's gone on. Tattoos and piercings and wild hair color doesn't amount to anything. Dropping out of school does. It's very important that your daughter make plans to return to school or, at least, make a blueprint for her immediate future. Offer to help with these things.

    You'll hate me for saying this but I strongly suggest you and your wife get together by yourselves for a meeting on how to approach this. It's helpful if she does and most divorced parents, no matter how estranged, understand the necessity of communicating with each other where the children are concerned. If she doesn't, ok, maybe in the future she will. The more communication you have, the better you will both be able to help your daughter and grandchild.

    Here's some information on 529s. You may know about them already, but I thought I'd include it as they're such a good idea.

    Generally, college savings plans, called 529s, offer tax-deferredearnings; since 2002, distributions from qualified state tuition plans are tax free if used to pay for qualified higher education expenses (some states offer tax exemptions and deductions, so check around). Depending on the state, maximum contribution amounts range from a low of $100,000 to over $250,000. The account owner keeps control of the assets; for gift tax purposes, he or she can contribute up to $11,000 per year without any gift tax consequences. Under a special gift tax rule, he or she can make a single contribution of up to $55,000 ($110,000 jointly) and treat the contribution as if it was made over a five year period. You give up the right to manage the money, though; a portfolio manager invests in several mutual funds. Please keep in mind that the underlying investment options are subject to market risk and will fluctuate in value. Other unusual 529 plan details include: You can name yourself the account owner and beneficiary in planning for your own educational expenses. (You can also withdraw funds for non-educational expenses, but the earnings are subject to income tax, and a 10% tax penalty applies.) You can also rename beneficiaries. Also, some states let the account owner be a friend as well as a relative. Some states offer tax deductions to residents who contribute to their 529 plans. Keep in mind that there are fees and expenses and tax ramifications associated with 529 plans that you should take into account before choosing a 529 plan.
     
  10. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Screenwriter

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    I have always told my daughter that I love her. I told her when she gave me the news. I called her to go out to dinner this weekend by ourselves to talk. She was supposed to call me back on Wed. when she found out her work schedule but no word yet. I'm a bit lost on the direct financial support though. I know people who were teen parents and they say don't help unless something is majorly wrong. They say to give love and guidance but now as people have said she is an adult to let her make her own decisions. I guess there is so much history it's hard to put all down. For instance in June of last year when she was still in school and after not speaking to me for some time, she called and said she wanted to come live with me. My wife and I said okay. We had just had our baby. She was crying and I went and picked her up. I asked what had happened. The story I got was that her mom had punched her in the stomach for being out late. So she stays with me, I get up early to take her to school, make her lunches etc. But I have rules. No staying out late, normal stuff. After 3 days she has her sister drive her to my house while I'm at work and she packs her shit and says nothing. It's sad to say my daughter just has no respect for me in the least yet expects something in return. Like one time I took her twin to buy school clothes one year. We have a good relationship and she comes to visit somewhat regularly. The other daughter calls a couple days later asking where her money was? I was shocked. She said since I took one to buy clothes that she deserved money. Mind you I have paid 20k a year in support for the last 10 years and thier mom has saved nothing for them.
    I am now married and have a 10 month old baby and plan for another. My wife cuurent had never been married and had children.

    Thanks all for the support and ideas. It really does help.
     
  11. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    Trust me....it is NOT the end....just another beginning. Went through the same thing when my daughter was 17. If it's acceptable to your present wife, it sounds like the best place for your daughter is with you until she is able to fend for herself. It'd also be the best situation for the new child....IMO.

    I too was a rectile orofice in my daughters eyes....that it's true to some degreee is irrelevant [​IMG] With love, patience and a little guidance, everything turned out great. That was thirteen + years ago. Daughter is married (with another kid), good job, kids doing tops in school, etc.

    Stuff just takes time. You don't have to change youself, just take a deep breath and keep on keepin on.

    Mort
     
  12. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    A very similar thing happened to a friend's daughter a few years ago. The two of them were almost exactly the same ages you mention. The main difference was that the girl's parents were still married to each other, so she didn't have that issue to deal with.

    The baby's father was her boyfriend, who supposedly loved her & wanted to marry her... until she found out she was pregnant, then he left town.

    The parents told her it was her decision to make. She decided to have the baby & give it up for adoption. (She felt she couldn't provide a good enough home for the child, & didn't like the option of ending her pregnancy, so I guess that only left one choice.) I guess the adoption process has changed, since she got to meet & interview the couple that adopted her baby before she gave birth. I think she even got photos of the child for a while.

    She ended up meeting a better guy a few years later & married him. I lost touch with the family, so I often wonder if she wishes she had kept the baby, since she ended up being married & able to better support a child. I don't know if she's had other kids with her husband... or whatever happened to the baby's father. (Isn't he supposed to provide child support, regardless of his relationship with the mother? It seems like he got out of this scot-free, except for any emotional issues he might have from knowing his kid is out there somewhere.)

    I was also always curious why they apparently didn't consider the option of the girl & the baby living with her parents & them helping raise the child, at least until she finished her education or the like. But it's hard to ask such a personal question like that, at least for me.

    Good luck to all here- I don't really know what else to say.
     
  13. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    Here's the rule about money; He who has the money makes the rules.

    If she wants money from you then you tell her the rules. No caving in. If she thinks it is unfair; well, read the rule again. Seems to me she's been plenty unfair to you for long enough.

    Suggestions for rules to consider;

    If you want money you will finish school and go on to college or trade school.

    If you want money you will live under my roof.

    If you want money you will attend church on Sundays and bible study on Wednesdays ( or whenever the church offers it)

    If you want money you will learn to calibrate a CRT big screen and balance a 7.1 sound system and perform each weekly.

    OK, maybe the last one was a bit extreme, but you get the gist.
     
  14. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Screenwriter

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    I would agree only if the family as a whole couldn't care for the child. I knew of a girl that was having a child when I was younger. Her whole family was dirt poor. I hooked her up with a couple that ended up adopting the baby. Since I could afford to raise the child I couldn't imagine sending my grandchild off and always wondering.
    The funny thing about the money is it isn't the money at all. It's about respect and constantly bailing people out. I have friends that their parents did this and they never learned the consequence's's of poor decisions.
     
  15. Benjamin-Es

    Benjamin-Es Auditioning

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    Hi John,

    I have been lurking this site for years, and probably this is my 5th post, but I felt the need to do so.

    I am now 30 yo. When I was 17, my girlfriend got pregnant (she was also 17). Needless to say, I was the most hated person in her family, and my parents were also very disappointed. Both families were very traditional.

    Long story short, we both received the support of our parents (at different degrees), I got to keep going to school at day and worked by night. 12 years later we are still married, have a wonderful daughter and I am doing pretty good financially.

    What I am trying to say is that by when all this happened everybody thought it was the end. Well, guess what? It wasn't.

    So I would recommend sticking with the good advice in this post: think long term and show a LOT of support to your daughter.

    Good Luck.

    I fortgot to add something important. Yesterday my wife got angry at me and sent me to sleep to the sofa, which proves that we are a normal family after all. [​IMG]
     
  16. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    Seems like kids are in too much of a hurry to grow up. If the ex isn't the father then it would be wise of her to get in touch with whomever is.

    Reading the rest of the story, I wonder how much of what her mom did is not so much for her daughter but against you. For example, you say no belly ring or tatoo and her mom takes her to have those things done. She wants to be the good guy while making you out to be the evil father because you have rules that she must abide by.

    Life will be hard for her, especially dealing with rules and learning self discipline. A tour of duty in the military even as a reservist may do her a lot of good. A very tough lesson she will have to learn: Life isn't fair but often times it is because of the choices you make and the consequences therein.

    Don't be her friend but be her father, loving her no matter what she has done. However, that never means there are not consequences for those actions and those consequences rarely are ever gentle or pleasant but you can get through them together.
     
  17. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Screenwriter

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    I think somehow it would be diffrent if they were still together with plans for the future.And possibly if my ex and I could even talk. I do know of people who have done it. I think since the dad is not in the picture and actually denying it makes it tougher. There is no doubt that I will love my daughter and grandbaby un conditionally.I have through all of the crap she has given me....
     
  18. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Statistically, this is going to make things incredibly difficult for both your grandchild and your daughter. The potential for success is much greater in two-parent homes even in situations where the couple has issues so long as they can put them aside during the child rearing years. Not so easy to do though. I'm sure you know that John. The DNA test I think is a good idea.

    Both my niece and nephew (same parents) have fathered children out of wedlock. The former was pregnant at her sweet 16 and she too had a belly ring as well as the blowjob piercing on her tongue. While I didn't look upon my brother and sister in laws as permissive in the sense of non-caring, I found the piercings a bit too deferential. My own kids, two sons, wanted to get tatoos. This went on throughout the high school years. My one and only comment was that was fine provided that their first tatoo was on their balls. I'd take them down myself. Case closed. I do remember talking to both parents on several occasions about whether they had made birth control available to their daughter back when she was around 13 or 14. Their reply was, 'not my daughter, she wouldn't do that' and I think they took some umbrage at my suggesting that she was or would soon become sexually active.

    She gave birth at 16, eventually dropped out of high school, but completed her GED around 19 or so. She's made several attempts at college but hasn't been able to complete more than about a semester's worth at a community college. The college attempts though were only when she was living at her parents home though. It's tough working, paying rent, and taking care of the kid. The early years of her son's life, she spent a lot of time dumping him off at her parents while she'd go out and party. Eventually that stopped, she moved out and now lives with some other guy. He seems to be nice but everytime I see him, I take him aside and tell him that's my god-daughter and if I ever hear that he's mistreated her or her son, I'll fuck him up.

    I have no idea how her son or for that matter, will make out. I'm hopeful but it's such a crap shoot. I think you've done the right things John and I'm sure you'll do the right things when the baby's born. You do have one advantage though with your grandchild that your daughter doesn't. You'll both have a common enemy [​IMG]
     
  19. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Screenwriter

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    Funny thing or not so funny is that my ex actually put her on BC when she was 14. I thought it gave her a license to screw around. Turns out she had some problems they thought were compounded by the BC so they took her off. Now we all know once you've done the deed it's hard to just stop especially a young girl trying to hold on the her boy. So supposedly during that time is when this happened.
     
  20. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    So how often do you see him? I'd think after awhile he'd finish the sentence for you. [​IMG]
     

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