Never been in daughter's life, should he be in grandchildren's life?

United States
September 18, 2007 8:31am CST
I would like to know what others think about this. Recently, my best friends father was released from prison. He had never had anything to do with her since she was 2 years old. He never wrote her a letter or ever tried to contact her in any way. She was raised by a different man, the same man who her kids now call papaw. Now that he's out and has dicovered he has 2 grandchildren he wants to be apart of her life again and his grandchildren's life. What do you think? Would you let him in your child's life?
4 people like this
14 responses
@hysiow (5)
• Singapore
18 Sep 07
My take is I would meet him to ask him why he hadn't written... If he has his reasons, hear him out to see whether it's reasonable. Tell him your concerns, like making promises to the grandchildren and breaking them? If he sounded nonchalant, then forgot it...
• United States
18 Sep 07
good advice, thanks!
2 people like this
@mrsbrian (1951)
• United States
18 Sep 07
I think it depends on a few things did he see the child before he went to prison? did he even know the address of the child when he was in prison, and what was he in there for? everyone deserves a second chance , well i must refase that unless he is a child molester or murder. if he is sincere about wanting to get his life together and be a changed man than yes i would allow it and go from there see how it works out.
3 people like this
• United States
18 Sep 07
He did know who she was. And she always kept in good contact with her grandmother, (he's mom). So there was a strong link between them. I believe he was in there for robbery, if I remember correctly.
2 people like this
@sizzle3000 (3038)
• United States
18 Sep 07
I think I would have to meet him. I know he is supposed to be the girls father but prison changes people. I would have to see if he would be a good influence on my children. There are many reasons that the man did not get in touch with his daughter while he was in jail. It is up to the woman to decide if this man is so terrible that he doesn't deserve another chance. I am a pretty open minded person. I have a cousin who has spend the majority of his life in prison. When he was in his early twenties he did not want contact with the family as his time went on and he got lonely, he reached out. The family helped him twice when he got out and twice he went back to prison. The family is talking to him but none of us will ever take him into their home because he has done some very bad things. This man must not go near the grandchildren until he has been cleared by the mother and father. Children all ways needs love and if this man can be a good influence on the girls he should have a chance. However, if he has not changed he has no right to see these children. I wish your friend luck in this situation because it is a hard place to be. My only advice is to give the man a chance but keep the kids at arms length until the man prooves he has changed. Good luck.
• United States
18 Sep 07
I see your point here. But I've always just heard horror stories about people who have spent most of their lives in prision.
2 people like this
@sephrenia (567)
18 Sep 07
I had a smiliar problem with my biological father. I made the mistake of allowing him a second chance. All he did was show up randomly and never when he promised and left my kids devestated every time. In the end I told him I just didnt want him to contact us again because i couldnt stand seeing my kids being hurt that way. If I was your friend I would tell her father to go and take a long walk off a short pier. If he couldnt be bothered to write, call or visit while she was growing up, what gives him the right to come and want to be a part of her kids lives? This is just my opinion of course and i've already been bitten like that so maybe someone else can balance this out a bit.
• United States
18 Sep 07
That's her fear too. I'm kinda dealing with the same thing but it's not my father it's my daughter's father who think he can be a dad whenever he wants to and not be there when the going gets tough.
3 people like this
@BlueAngelRS (2899)
• Canada
18 Sep 07
I don't think that I could let him be a part of my kids life if he didn't want to be apart of mine. If he was trying to make ammends and be apart of mine first then maybe I would consider it but if my kids already called my step dad pawpa then I would not confuse them more...This is just my opionion.
2 people like this
• United States
18 Sep 07
I agree, thank you.
1 person likes this
@cutepenguin (6448)
• Canada
18 Sep 07
I don't think I would. It would be introducing an element of instability in my children's life, and I don't really see what benefit they would get in exchange. Even in prison, he could have written or in some other way kept in contact. Getting to 'play grandpa' when he never did anything as a father seems strange.
2 people like this
• United States
18 Sep 07
Being a grandpa is a privilege, I can honestly say my dad worked very hard to earn that title! LOL
1 person likes this
@BinKsBaBy (507)
• United States
18 Sep 07
I beleive in giving people a chance but I would not let him around my children until he proved to me that he was going to really be around and be doing good and not falling back into bad habbits that landed him in prison in the first place. However I would also feel that he would owe a big explaination as to why while he was sitting in a cell for almost 24 hours a day for however many years that he couldnt have found the time to write her a single letter, I know people who have been in jail for long periods of time and even if they didnt know where there kids were they sent letters somewhere their own parents in hopes they could get in contact with the kid or the mothers parents something or even if the letters came back return to sender atleast that would show that he was thinking of his daughter and atleast tried to contact her. So I would say to play it safe or tell him to stay away.
2 people like this
• United States
18 Sep 07
You're right, I'm sure he had plently of time to write.
1 person likes this
@eden32 (3976)
• United States
18 Sep 07
I guess it would depend on what he was in jail for; if he's harmed children in the past I wouldn't allow him any contact. But if he committed a crime that he's now served his time for, and he's been out for long enough to know that he's truly changed his ways, I'd consider letting him have some limited & supervised contact. The man that raised the young woman and who the children call Pawpaw is obviously going to be the true grandfather in these children's lives; but if this other man is not a threat to the children & honestly wishes to be a good influence on the children it wouldn't hurt to allow him some contact. I feel once someone has 'paid their debt to society' they deserve to be given a chance to start over & do things right.
2 people like this
• United States
18 Sep 07
I don't believe anyone who's been in prision for 20 years could be a good influence. but I guess you never know. Thank you for your opinion.
2 people like this
@gradyslady (4055)
• United States
21 Sep 07
It's a really sad story first off, and second, I might let him come around because it is their grandfather, but the fear of something happening to them, that would kill me knowing he might hurt them or something like that. But it's her flesh and blood. What was he in jail for, if you don't mind me asking? Because maybe that has the answer in it as well.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Sep 07
I believe he was in jail for robbery. She doens't talk about it much. But from what I've gathered through the 10 years we've been friends I think that's it.
@shooie (4985)
• United States
19 Sep 07
It would all depend on what he was locked up for....If it has to do with any related crime toward children then no. He has been a missing puzzle piece for so long. My brother has been missing from two of his childrens lives for about 13 years if not longer and well he wanted to be part of their lives resently and well the kids don't want him in any part of their lives. But if the grandchildren are small and can't make that choice the mom will have to follow her heart. I personally would have to think long and hard. I believe in giving second chances. She would also need to sit her adopted dad down and let him know that this man wouldn't and couldn't replace the love she has for him for being there for her all these years.
• United States
21 Sep 07
That's a good point about making sure the adopted dad knew he wasn't being replaced. Thank you.
• India
19 Sep 07
This is definitely a tricky one. It may be that the biological father did not communicate while in prison coz he did not want the stigma to attach to his daughter while she was growing up. Or may be, he had a change in mind while in prison and remorse has made him a changed man. Now that he is out, he wants a second chance in life. It all depends on how the father is as a person. If he is a rogue, chances are he will never change and should be kept out of the family. But if he went to prison for something which he later repented, he can be forgiven and accepted back, but slowly. We all make mistakes and deserve second chances. It also depends on how your friend is reacting to the situation. I think that instead of exposing her impressionable children to him at one go, she should meet him for maybe an hour over an extended period, try to know him better and what exactly he wants and how is he as a person and then decide whether to introduce him to her family or not. She should also take her papaw into confidence if she is that close to him. It is not necessary for her to introduce her biological father to her children as ‘your grandpa’…it would definitely be a bolt from the blue for the young minds. Instead all adults in the immediate family can sit together and decide on a compromise like maybe ‘this is your grandpa from the cousin side, or the father a very close friend who would like to spend some time with us all’ and so forth. But the main thing would be for your friend to interact with her father and judge for herself whether he genuinely deserves a place amongst them.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Sep 07
Good Respone-Thank you!
@mamasan34 (6521)
• United States
19 Sep 07
In this situation, I would meet him without the children and get the answers I needed. If I wasn't comfortable after my meeting with him, I would just not continue contact with him. I would regret not knowing or not giving him the opportunity to explain himself when he passed away. At least then I would have a good explanation for the kids as to why things happened that way, when they got older and started asking questions.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Sep 07
Very true, thank you.
• United States
18 Sep 07
I would be really upset because he hadn't contacted me. She should talk to him first because she has alot of issues with him and it isn't her fault. If she can have a decent relationship with him then maybe the kids can come into it too later on if things work out with her & her biological father. I would have a tough time letting him into my life after so long. Your friend is probably very bitter. Could they go to counseling or have a mediator of some kind? She definitely needs to sort out her feelings about him before deciding whether or not he can see the grandchildren. I wish her the best in whatever decision she makes.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Sep 07
I think counseling would be a great idea. Thank you for your comment.
• United States
21 Sep 07
Yes, he is already a part of this child's life. You cannot deny a father no matter how one may feel about it this man has done his time. I don't know why he never tried to contact her unless he lost track of her or perhaps he did try and was denied (mother's can be like that you know). But remember prison isn't fun and games, he probaly had a lot of time to reflect on his life and I'm sure he wants a second chance, but that's ALL I would give him after all there's no 3rd 2ond chance's that I know of. I would also keep a very watchful eye on him whenever he's around until I felt comfortable around him. There is always room in a child's heart for 2 papaw's. There might be circumstances you are unaware of and giving one the benifit of doubt is the honest and right thing to do that is until he mess's up.