Try to detach from daughter's volatility
DEAR AMY: Our daughter and her husband are expecting their first baby in four months. We have had a rocky relationship with her since she was an adolescent, but there have been good times, too. She can be selfish and stubborn and is a "right-fighter." Her dad and I have tried to go along to get along. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. She doesn't compromise on much, and if she doesn't get her way, she gets angry and holds a grudge. We fear she will try to prevent us from seeing the baby very often (or at all) if she is upset with us for any reason. Her husband is calm and patient, so I hope he'll try to talk her into being fair with us. We want to be a part of this baby's life. We hope our daughter won't use the child as ammunition against us. How should we handle this? My husband thinks we should sit down with the couple and tell them how we feel and that we want to have a special relationship with their child. How should we do this and what do we say?--Concerned
DEAR CONCERNED: Your daughter has always been a volatile, right-fighting power-player. Yet, you seem to think that if you simply tell her she can't use her baby as bait, she will suddenly become more rational and loving toward you? This is a tall order. And very unrealistic.
I think the last thing you should do is hand your daughter ammunition to manipulate and punish you. Instead, you should work harder to accept her limitations as a person (and likely as a parent). You should convey your excitement about the baby and maintain a neutral attitude about what you want out of the grandparent relationship.
You need to detach from her volatility. Do not allow her to use your grandparental attachment against you. Understand that your unique burden is that you may not get what you want, either from her or from the child. And you should do your best to love them both.